Monday 26 September 2022

Battle Joined in Piedmont - Late Seventeenth Century in the Waldensian Alps

The Waldensian Symbol which will soon
feature on a couple of
fictional imagination units to join my Louis XIV army.

This week our game was another using my 1672-78'ish collection with a shift in geography from the Spanish Netherlands south to Piedmont. The French have yet again encroached across the border with Piedmont to provide support for the hard-pressed Waldensian communities living in the north of the duchy. Being Protestants they're not exactly popular or welcome and have been under almost continuous pressure from the Duke of Savoy and his allies. While almost everything about this game is made up, the Waldensians are not, so click here should you want to find out more. Louis XIV is keen to keep this unrest alive so as to distract his enemies in Northern Italy from interfering in his plans to invade.

Almost a full house on Saturday. Conrad, Paul, Richard, Neil, Nigel, Shaun and Dave came over for another run out for my late seventeenth century armies, this time replacing the Dutch with Savoyards and assorted allied/mercenary regiments.

We were using Paul's own 'Panoply of War' rules which are still 'under development' rather than Warlord's Black Powder/Pike and Shot sets as might normally have been the case. 

Battle is joined. French on the left, and below from the other flank with French now on the right facing the Spanish under Neil.

Conrad, Richard and I were the French. Dave, Shaun, Nigel and Neil were the combined Savoyards, Spanish and 'others'. The main objective was the defeat of the enemy but there were also some physical objectives to gain control of as well, such as the bridge and the monastery. As usual there are lots of photos in more or less the correct order. As I was playing I was engrossed in my bit of the battle and may not have all the detail or sequence off events right for elsewhere.

Initial disposition of my cavalry.
The Maison du Roi at the start of their rapid advance.
The French Maison du Roi cavalry on our right were lucky with a long move and caught the Savoyards at the halt, and then began driving them off the table. It was a hard and costly slog.

Maison du Roi
My other brigade of French cavalry advanced towards the other half the enemy horse.
French horse clash with Spanish and allied cavalry in the centre.

Spanish cuirassiers had some initial success
in the centre but were soon to be bundled back to their own lines. 
French taking a hammering on the left from the Spanish artillery.
The Fusiliers du Roi guarding the guns with Gardes Suisse and Gardes Francais in support. Our artillery had already forced the Savoyard heavy guns under Nigel to limber up and disappear in turn 1. It was a very un/lucky  series of dice rolls that did it.
In the centre the allied/mercenary/hired help advanced towards our line. 
Regiments from Venice, Brandenburg, Bavaria, Saxony, the Papacy and Austria on the attack.
The enemy attack was so ferocious it actually forced the Gardes Francais to pull back. 
Spanish troops holding the enemy right wing.
Five battalions of dismounted French dragoons failed to take the monastery, stoutly held by two Savoyard regiments.
The Maison du Roi have pushed the enemy back almost to the table edge. Both the Savoyard brigades of horse were battered severely by the French horse.
There was a furious and swirling cavalry melee in the centre for much of the game but despite some losses the French were victorious.
Richard’s French made slow progress, leaving the Swiss brigade somewhat isolated.
The French centre.
Richard’s attack led by his Swiss brigade made no progress against the Spanish and for much of the game advanced, then retreated then advanced again! Eventually some Spanish battalions were forced to pull back.
The Swiss (and a German regiment) rolling slowly onwards.
Shaun’s Savoyards in the centre chose to form hedgehogs in expectation of an attack by my cavalry. They probably would have been ok not to as it did rather pin them which was good for the French.
….and the other French horse advancing to engage the enemy cavalry.
The enemy centre and left looking very vulnerable now their cavalry had been seen off.
Meanwhile life in the town goes on….. (its a dancing bear NOT a gorilla as someone  thought)
The French advance under heavy fire from the Spanish.

We played until about 3.30 when it was clear the French had won. They'd destroyed two brigades of Savoyard horse, which was all they had, and held two of the three physical objectives. It was an other tremendously fun and spectacular game. Most of the players were new to Paul's rules but we still managed a result. Man of the Match has to go to the French Maison du Roi commander (but I'm biased) and poor Dave in command of the Savoyard horse, in his first game for months, gets the special award for stoicism after watching 12 regiments of horse and two of dragoons depart the game. The rules and maybe how I'd applied the troop characteristics might need a little tweaking but it was an excellent game so thanks to Paul for the unending task of herding cats (literally) and keeping us old blokes straight as far as the rules were concerned.

Not sure when my next game will be; depends upon how my wife's operation goes on Thursday.


  1. Another excellent AAR and the usual spectacular eye candy, makes me jealous. Glad to see the French win. I'm our local wargaming group's Francophile.
    Wishing best of luck for your wife's surgery too!

  2. Fantastic stuff- such a great display of how a game should be.

  3. What a lovely looking game and in the sort of period I'm beginning to take more interest in. Hope your wife's operation goes well next week.

  4. Superb looking game, lovely figures an nice vignettes, looked a lot of fun too! Best wishes to your wife.